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Blackhawks' Keith leading Norris race at midseason

Wednesday, 01.08.2014 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com's midseason edition of Trophy Trackers attempts to project winners of the major individual awards. Today we predict the winner of the Norris Trophy, an annual award given to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position.

Duncan Keith won the Norris Trophy four years ago. His coach thinks he's playing better this season.

"I think he's defended better," Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "I think his gap has been better. I think offensively, his play selection or his puck patience, he's added another level or element to it. I just think consistency is the best way to measure defensemen and that's what we're seeing."

Keith entered play Tuesday leading all defensemen with 39 assists and 42 points. He is on pace for 71 assists and 76 points, which would top his career-highs of 55 and 69 from the 2009-10 season, when he won the Norris Trophy.


Rivalry Night Faceoff: Saad vs. Kreider

Wednesday, 01.08.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

To help celebrate NBC Rivalry Night, NHL.com will look at a rivalry within the rivalry of the featured game on Wednesday nights. For this week, we are wondering which emerging young forward, Chris Kreider of the New York Rangers or Brandon Saad of the Chicago Blackhawks, would be the best option around which to build a team.

The 2011-12 season was bookended by two players who made stunning NHL debuts, one at the start of the season and another at the end.

Brandon Saad was taken by the Chicago Blackhawks with the 43rd pick of the 2011 NHL Draft. He was invited to training camp, but it was assumed he'd quickly be returned to his junior team, the Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario Hockey League. Instead he earned an opening-night roster spot, becoming one of two players since the 2003-04 season to be picked outside the first round and go on to make his NHL team's opening-night roster.


Thirteen numbers that defined season's first half

Wednesday, 01.08.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

The first half of the 2013-14 season is history.

Four of the NHL's top five regular-season teams from 2012-13 reached the midway point on top of their divisions. That included each Stanley Cup Finalists, the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins. The three California teams were piling up victories, several of which came at the expense of the three teams in the New York Metropolitan area (none of which reached the halfway mark owning a playoff berth).

The Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche, who were 28th and 29th in the overall standings last season, were on target for a return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The New York Islanders, a surprise postseason participant last spring, are among the 2013 playoff teams that may not qualify this season after a poor first half.

Here are 13 numbers and statistics that defined the first half of the 2013-14 season:


Devils' Jagr ties Lemieux on all-time points list

Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 7:49 PM / News

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

New Jersey Devils forward Jaromir Jagr tied former Pittsburgh Penguins star Mario Lemieux on the NHL all-time points list Tuesday.

Jagr's assisted on a goal by Adam Henrique 57 seconds into the first period against the Philadelphia Flyers. It gave Jagr 1,723 points in the NHL, tying him with Lemieux for seventh place on the League's all-time list.

Jagr had one point in his previous six games.


Not enough room on Canada roster for all deserving

Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 6:10 PM / 2014 Olympics

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

TORONTO -- A favorite refrain of many Canadians when it comes time to select the national Olympic team is that the country could easily compile two full rosters that would be competitive.

Unfortunately for Canada executive director Steve Yzerman and his management team, that is a luxury they simply didn't have, and the players who were not named on Tuesday to Canada's team that will compete in the 2014 Sochi Olympics will likely be a bigger source of debate than the ones who did.

Yzerman's 25-man roster was finalized after midnight Tuesday morning, less than 12 hours before it was announced to Canadians and the rest of the hockey world. But he and his management team comprised of St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong, Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli, Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland and Edmonton Oilers president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe had a job prior to that announcement that was considerably less pleasant.

"The calls this morning to the guys that weren't making it, those are real difficult calls," Chiarelli said. "It kind of leaves an empty feeling in your stomach."


Olympic cred for Pens' Kunitz not due just to Sid

Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 5:53 PM / 2014 Olympics

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- As he prepared for his first game back at Rogers Arena since scoring the gold-medal clinching goal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby was never a doubt to return with Canada to the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

The same could not be said for Penguins linemate Chris Kunitz, but thanks in part to their chemistry together both are Russia bound.

The Penguins pair was named to the Canadian roster for the Sochi Games on Tuesday morning, and while Crosby's status was a no-brainer there were questions about Kunitz becoming a first-time Olympian at age 34, especially with big names like Claude Giroux, Martin St. Louis, Logan Couture and Eric Staal left off Canada's roster.

Kunitz is sixth in NHL scoring with 47 points in 44 games, and tied for fourth with 23 goals, including 11 on the power play. But many have suggested those numbers, and his spot on Canada's Olympic team, are all about playing with Crosby, even after Canada general manager Steve Yzerman said Kunitz made it on his own merit.


Analysis: What questions determined Canada's roster

Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 5:04 PM / 2014 Olympics

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

No one ever hid from the fact Canada would be leaving a number of star players off its 25-man roster for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, so now that the roster is out it's simply inaccurate to say Claude Giroux, Martin St. Louis, Joe Thornton, Brent Seabrook and Dan Boyle and others were snubbed.

These players and many more that didn't make the roster announced Tuesday were not ignored, rebuffed or spurned disdainfully. They didn't make it because Canada has a lot of star power and was only allowed to select three goalies, eight defensemen and 14 forwards.

In the Olympics, depth is all about the players you bring, not the players who are worthy of being there. That's why these decisions were so hard for Canada executive director Steve Yzerman, who admitted he was trying to slot 17 forwards into 14 spots and, well, that's just not allowed.


Game between Hurricanes, Sabres postponed

Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 2:47 PM / News


NEW YORK / TORONTO -- Tonight's game between the Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes at First Niagara Center, NHL Game No. 647, has been postponed due to the hazardous weather conditions in the Buffalo area.

A make-up date will be announced as soon as it can be confirmed.


Canadiens' Galchenyuk to miss six weeks

Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 2:42 PM / News

Sean Farrell - NHL.com Correspondent

BROSSARD, Quebec -- Montreal Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk will miss six weeks with a broken hand sustained during a game Monday against the Florida Panthers.

The 19-year-old forward, in his second season, has 10 goals and 13 assists in 44 games. As a rookie, he had 27 points in 48 games, and one goal and two assists in five Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Galchenyuk appeared to be injured midway through the first period when he was checked by Panthers defenseman Mike Weaver along the boards. Galchenyuk played one more shift before he went to the dressing room late in the first, but returned for the beginning of the second period and finished the game.


Avalanche sign Guenin to two-year extension

Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 2:01 PM / News


The Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday signed defenseman Nate Guenin to a two-year contract extension. Financial terms of the deal were not released, but the Denver Post reported Guenin will make $750,000 next season and $850,000 in 2015-16.

Guenin was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

The 31-year-old has played 38 games this season, representing more than half the total of his 70 career games. He has four assists and a team-high 86 blocked shots while also ranking first on the Avalanche in shorthanded ice time (2:57 per game) and tied for fourth with 84 hits.

"Nate has been very consistent during the first half of the season," Avalanche executive vice president of hockey operations Joe Sakic said. "He has been a reliable member of our defense and we are pleased to have him under contract for the next couple of years."
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I was in there icing my face as she was trying to push a baby out.

— Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf on going to the hospital with a facial laceration while his wife was in labor following Game 1 on Wednesday